The moment I hung up my competitive swimsuit, I grabbed a pair of running shoes. At the time, I didn’t even know I was supposed to have a separate shoe just for running. I didn’t really think about switching to running or becoming a runner, I just ran. I ran with my girlfriends around the Stanford University campus. We fondly call it “The Campus Loop,” and it’s about four miles. Since then, I have run wherever my job has taken me. I’ve run at least 50 times around Orlando, Florida during my time hosting Figure It Out, at least once through every NBA city exploring while filming Inside Stuff, and on five continents while traveling for the Olympic Games, doing charity work, or covering events for the Today Show. There is no better way to see a city or get to know your surroundings than by slipping on your running shoes and putting your soles to the pavement!
With all that legwork under me, I thought I’d share a little exploring insight… So without further ado, here are my 10 favorite running destinations.
Central Park 1 of 10
NYC: Central Park Big Loop. Number 1 on my list is Central Park. New York City just has tons of energy at almost every hour of the day, so you can feel good running anytime. The big loop is six miles with the Great Hill at the top of the loop, which is perfect for training and can really fuel your competitive fire. NYC was my home for almost ten years, and this was my daily trail.
Lake Wanaka 2 of 10
Wanaka, New Zealand: Lake Wanaka Trails. I am biased because I love everything about New Zealand, but honestly the views make these runs unforgettable and number 2 on my list. I could soak up the view of the mountains and lake for hours and never be bored, and the plethora of trails make that easily possible. Even Gimli could appreciate it.
Image courtesy of Lake Wanaka Tourism
Manhattan Beach 3 of 10
Manhattan Beach, CA. The strand is a run I fell in love with while visiting my girlfriend's childhood home in college. I used to love just to be able to run past the "90210" house, but even now, it provides such amazing ocean views and fun people watching. And you can't really beat the beach air, which makes it number 3 on my list.
Boston 4 of 10
Boston, MA. Running anywhere along the Charles River Waterfront ranks number 4 on my list. I simply feel a connection to this beautiful, historic, and incredibly strong city. Running with the river on one side of you throughout your run makes the time fly.
Philadephia 5 of 10
Philadelphia, PA. Running in this city is amazing, almost anywhere, with all the history around you. That is, as long as you finish by running up by the museum steps. Come on, who can resist Rocky or my number 5 spot.
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Park City 6 of 10
Park City, UT. Whether you want to climb up to 10,000ft or prefer to stay at 7,000, my number 6 spot offers so many paved and dirt trails I can't list them all. My home offers endless possibilities. My favorite time of year for a trail run is around the middle of October when the leaves are changing.
San Francisco 7 of 10
San Francisco, CA. The adventure from the marina across the Golden Gate Bridge can be quite long, but there is nothing like running across such a gorgeous structure. My number 7 destination travels from San Fran to Saulsolito, and is quite grand and makes you feel insignificant yet strong.
Regents Park 8 of 10
London, England: Hyde or Regents Park. I ran through a park in London whenever I had a free moment during the 2012 Olympic Games. It was so cool to have all that history around you and the accessibility in the middle of the city. So the number 8 destination on my list is for taking advantage. You could even join one of the races they hold in the parks the first Sunday of each month.
Stanford University 9 of 10
Stanford University. The campus loop or the fun run out to the dish both belong to my number 9 destination. I am a Cardinal, and I believe (and many other will confirm) that we have one of the prettiest college campuses. I knew every single day that I was very lucky to be a Stanford student, and being able to take it in in all it's splendor on a run is really cool. It also holds a special place as the site where I began to run.
The Highland Way 10 of 10
Scotland: The Highland Way. We learned a lot about this trail while we were camping in the Highlands in Scotland. My number 10 destination is Scotland's premiere walking route and can be accessed via path at almost every stop along the scenic way. The scenery is so raw and beautiful. And the 96mile trail has various paths along it's route, and hosts an annual race. I'm putting that one on my bucket list.